eMusic rattles ISPs over legal downloads
Pakman eats dots, avoids ghosts
The boss of Apple’s iTunes nearest rival eMusic has warned that recent deals struck between the music industry and UK internet providers could threaten the existence of legal sites.
eMusic CEO David Pakman told the Financial Times that ISPs could lure customers away from well-known digital music sites by offering their own legal download services.
"Our concern is that in order to obtain the co-operation of the ISPs, there seems to be a quid pro quo," said Pakman. "This is qualitatively different from licensing another half a dozen digital music businesses."
He claimed that the agreement inked in July between six UK ISPs, the BPI, and the Motion Pictures Ass. of America, to crack down on illegal downloading would “penalise the good guys, not the bad guys”.
Unsurprisingly, ISPs rebutted Pakman’s comments that they could encourage traffic to their own sites over the likes of eMusic, iTunes, Amazon and others.
"We have no plans to inhibit in any way the traffic of other legitimate music or content services, irrespective of whether we eventually offer our own," BT told the FT. BSkyB said: "It seems premature in the extreme to be warning of the consequences of something that doesn't even exist."
ISPs have in recent months been busily firing off threatening letters to customers they suspect of sharing copyright music over peer-to-peer networks with internet cut-off. ®
RE: I loved eMusic and miss it now I'm back to 56k dialup
This raises a perennial question which I've pondered for years; how can any ISP possibly justify offering a so-called "unlimited" service on which they place limits? Does the word "unlimited" have a different meaning in broadband from the one it has in mathematics, or in everyday English? Does the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 not apply to ISPs?
Alien because ISPs appear not to be on the same planet as the rest of us.
I loved eMusic and miss it now I'm back to 56k dialup
Me, I was quite happy with eMusic as an addition to iTunes Store as a venue for music shopping. But ISP Frontier slid that 5GB cap into their Acceptable Use Policy (now claiming it's a guideline, not a cap) and I cancelled my DSL. As a result I also cancelled my eMusic subscription because I know I cannot even download music on a 56k line without having it be a tedious instead of pleasant experience. This choice of mine did cost me some dough since I had an annual subscription at emusic. But what can I say, the thrill of downloading a 4MB music file at 2am on a dialup line wore off a long time ago, before I ever got DSL, actually.
I plan to mention all this in my letter to the FCC about Frontier's absurdly tiny cap, which might have made sense in 1990 but makes no sense today, certainly not for contracts made, as mine was, for "unlimited high speed access" to the internet. Try as I might, I cannot find where it says access to the internet of yesterday so I was assuming it to be today's internet, silly me. Of course I did not imagine that downloading a few TV series and renting some movies was an abuse of my "unlimited" access. Why would I? This is 2008.
I am not having fun without DSL but I'll get over it. If I was eMusic, I'd try to sue the pants off Frontier for restraint of trade, actually. They are being cagey but their cap is legally a cap, not a guideline. And forget video transfer in a 5GB cap. That's what I actually got the DSL for to begin with, to buy movies at iTunes Store. Not a happy camper, moi, and there's no other DSL provider here. Time Warner is an alternative around here, but they are talking about small caps too.
I'm done with broadband until I see fine print I can actually understand and it better not say anything about 5GB a month. Hope Amazon, iTunes Store, eMusic, Netflix wake up and smell that Frontier coffee real soon now.
Pot, kettle, black?
I'm not surprised at the boss of eMusic getting defensive, as my one experience with them is bad: http://www.inktankforums.com/showpost.php?p=9189&postcount=17
I'm still looking for a good music downloads site. By "good" I mean (1) accessible from the UK (that rules out Amazon Downloads); (2) pay-as-you-go (that rules out eMusic; why should I pay for *not* downloading anything?); and (3) DRM-free, so that if I download on my laptop I can play that music on my desktop, and vice-versa, and can still play the music I've bought when the computer on which I downloaded it dies and is replaced (that rules out Tesco Downloads, with whom I've had numerous problems such as being unable to acquire the licences for two tracks I bought from them).
Until then, it seems that the only way to go is to buy the CDs and roll my own MP3s, which is what I currently do.